Rapha Cent Cols: The Alps

WORDS: Phil Deeker

Stage one of the Rapha CCC Alps ridden by all. Some fast riders at front, setting a fierce pace. Interesting to see if they are still this competitive in eight days time. Some stragglers at the back, but they should be able to ‘get round’… Some have already gone into survival mode. Could be a long ride…

Only 150km but still made 3,900m of climbing. All agreed a tough enough one to open the event. ALL will remember the Col de Plan Bois – a typical Cent Cols climb that no one knew about before today. At just 6 km long, it rarely dips under 10% and the last ramp found me tugging on the bars. Looked down at Garmin to see 20% dropping to 18%. So that was why…

Lunch at the top at the superb Auberge du Plan Bois, sitting outside in the sun with a mountain vista all around and a plate full of Alpine hams and cheeses put a bit of life back into riders’ veins.

Our oldest rider, at 75, found it a wee bit hard and has confessed that maybe he has bitten off more than he can chew, will use the broomwagon quite frequently. But so would I at that age!

Galibier & Glandon headlining acts tomorrow and weather looks good. An epic stage, but reduced to 4,600m of UP from the original 6,100m of last year – had a snowstorm not caused the stage to be called off at Valloire.